Liberty Island and Statue of Liberty to reopen Saturday after false bomb threat forces evacuation

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – The Statue of Liberty will resume normal operations Saturday after a false bomb threat forced the evacuation of the monument and Liberty Island Friday.

Just after 11 a.m., someone called 911 stating that he or she was going to blow up the Statue of Liberty, according to National Park Service Specialist Mindi Rambo.

After safely evacuating visitors from the Statue of Liberty, a United States Park Police canine unit “alerted on an area of interest” near the lockers that are located at the base of the statue.  At that point officials decided to evacuate the island, and around 12:30 p.m. people were hustled off Liberty Island and onto waiting ferries that took them back to Battery Park and Jersey City’s Liberty State Park.

“I asked about what was going on and they said we’re not at liberty to say, so we sat (on the ferry) without anybody telling us what was going on at all,” said Terri Pilson, of Oceanside, California.

The NYPD bomb squad joined the U.S. Park Police, NYPD harbor police units and the National Park Service at the scene.  Friday afternoon, officials confirmed that all visitors and personnel were safe — 2715 people in total.

No injuries were reported during the evacuation.

For some visitors, however, the hurried evacuation caused an unexpected twist — getting back to their lockers.

“We were actually to eat and then they said we had to evacuate out of the diner,” said Australian tourist Riy Butler.  “The challenge now is we’ve got all of our items back there (like) documents and backpacks because we’re travelers.”

“We’re from California so we feel like we’ve had more of the New York experience than we were expecting,” said Rachael Starke.  “But we’re all safe; everyone was really good natured, no one was panicking too much.”

Those who have ferry tickets for Statue Cruises can call (877) 523-9849 to reschedule their visit.

Liberty Island is a major Manhattan tourist attraction best known for the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

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